Atlanta: Team Panella all-team final
Bob Panella Motorsports Pro Stock Truck NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Driver: Bob Panella, Jr.- Chevy S-10 Driver: Jeff Gracia - GMC Sonoma 21st Annual NHRA Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals Atlanta Dragway -- Atlanta (Commerce) ...
Bob Panella Motorsports
Pro Stock Truck
NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series
Driver: Bob Panella, Jr.- Chevy S-10
Driver: Jeff Gracia - GMC Sonoma
21st Annual NHRA Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals
Atlanta Dragway -- Atlanta (Commerce) Georgia
March 3-6, 2001 <pre> All Team Panella Final Bob Panella wins 11th final round
PANELLA: Qualified #1 @ 7.471* seconds and 180.69 mph Round 1: Panella: 7.503 seconds at 180.81 mph def. John Coughlin: 7.589 seconds at 177.93 mph Round 2: Panella: 7.543 seconds at 180.31 mph def. Jeff Naiser: 7.562 seconds at 178.76 mph Round 3: Panella: 7.501 seconds at 180.94* mph def. Taylor Lastor: 7.538 seconds at 179.80 mph Round 4: Panella: 8.185 seconds at 128.54 mph def. Jeff Gracia: Red-Light *track record
GRACIA: Qualified #2 @ 7.499 seconds and 180.43 mph Round 1: Gracia: 7.618 seconds at 178.19 mph def. Bart Price: 9.086 seconds at 107.69 mph Round 2: Gracia: 7.540 seconds at 179.61 mph def. Randy Daniels: 7.580 seconds at 178.05 mph Round 3: Gracia: 7.545 seconds at 179.78 mph def. Greg Stanfield: 7.539 seconds at 179.90 mph Round 4: Gracia: Red-Light lost to Bob Panella: 8.185 seconds at 128.54 mph </pre> Commerce, Ga. - - It was an all Team Panella final. Bob Panella, from Stockton, Calif., and Jeff Gracia, from Ontario, Calif., met in the final round for the first time in their 20-races together as teammates. It was the 20th final round for Panella and the first of his professional career for Gracia.
It was all Panella, as Gracia left to soon and red-lighted. Panella notched his 11 NHRA national event win.
"I wish we could have put on a better show for the fans during the final round. It was a great weekend with Jeff and I qualifying one-two, then pairing off in the finals," said Panella immediately following the round.
Panella has now won 102 rounds of competition, against 34 losses, since turning professional in 1998. He is the reigning NHRA Winston Pro Stock Truck champion having won back-to-back championships in 1999 and 2000.
In post-race interviews Panella added the following, "I hope this won't be the last time these two yellow trucks are in the finals together. Jeff (Gracia) did an outstanding job driving this weekend."
"The red-light came as a surprise. I think I might have burned the clutch up doing the burnout. I staged, saw yellow and left. I looked up and said to myself, 'I must have red-lighted.' With the red-light, my first final was a little anti-climatic. I had a golden opportunity to win and in the process beat the three best guys in Pro Stock Truck. Well, I beat two and Bobby gained the point lead in the process," said Gracia.